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BIOCHAR - WHAT IS IT?

Biochar is a special form of highly porous type of carbon…then what is highly porous charcoal? It is charred carbon made by heating biomass – commonly waste wood – without oxygen (pyrolysis). One of the great things about biochar is it can be made from any biomass waste – materials we have no better use for at a given time and place. Biochar is an excellent way of turning waste material into a long term beneficial product.

Biochar, however, is not made to be burned as fuel, as other types of char typically are. Currently, most biochar produced is intended to be put in soil, where it causes physical, chemical, and biological transformations to promote sustainable and long-term soil fertility in nutrient poor or infertile soils. In soils that are already well cared for and fertile, biochar helps build a resilient soil that is better able to maintain its normal functions under unusual conditions. Such unusual conditions include heavy, prolonged rain and dry spells, both of which are expected to be more frequent because of climate change.

BIOCHAR BASICS

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Typically, the best Biochar begins as organic biomass. By photosynthesis, living plants capture sunlight to unite carbon dioxide(CO2 ) with water to create carbohydrates. Plants combine solar energy, CO2 , water, and minerals into sugars and an array of other essential molecules, and build their tissues from sugar modified into fibers. 

If biological matter can be dried and burned, it can be made into biochar.

Chemically, biochar is mostly carbon, with embedded minerals and other constituents such as hydrogen and oxygen. In many productive soils, black carbon from naturally charred biomass constitutes up to a third of total organic carbon. Black carbon is a key, natural part of soil—closely linked to other forms of (uncharred) organic matter and nutrient cycles.

Biochar & the Elements

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SO WHERE DO WE COME IN?

Soil Reef LLC (SR) is an integrated biochar product development, marketing and sales company.

 

Our VISON is a world where biochar products are valued for their environmental, social, and economic benefits. That point in time where biochar products are widely recognized, understood, and used in worldwide in commercial and industrial applications.

USING SOIL REEF

WHEN USING PURE SOIL REEF

Because biochar holds onto nutrients in the soil, it is best to add your biochar “fully charged” by inoculating it, so that it is adding to the total nutrient quotient of your soil. The easiest way to inoculate is to blend Pure biochar with compost in a 50/50 ratio, then let it “age” for at least two weeks under cover. This “primes” the biochar to preload it with freshly released nutrients and microbes.

The aging period allows time for the microbes to physically inhabit the biochar. During this time, the biochar’s color may change from shiny black to lusterless grey. Then spread 1/2″ – 1″ of this mixture over your soil and till it in 5” deep. If you’re adding it to a potting medium for houseplants, or for bushes or trees, use about 10-20% biochar mixture for your total volume.

In general, we recommend using 5% by volume of this blended pure biochar. A one cubic foot bag of Soil Reef Pure biochar will cover approximately 48 square feet of garden space as it is tilled into the first 2 inches of the soil. Feel free to experiment with adding more or less of this blended to your soil.

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Image by Diego Cortez

IF YOU’RE USING SOIL REEF™ GARDENERS BLEND 

We recommend using 10% by volume of biochar blend. Spread 1/2″ of Soil Reef Biochar blend over the surface of your garden area and till in 5″ deep.

 

A one cubic foot bag of Soil Reef Biochar Blend will cover approximately 24 square feet at this application rate.

 

Feel free to experiment with adding more or less to your soil.

WHEN TO USE SOIL REEF™

Anytime is a good time to start improving your soil; however, there are some more ideal times. Before spring planting, or in fall when preparing your garden for winter, are the best times to add Soil Reef™. However, there is no bad time to start a path to healthier soil and a healthier planet. As a Chinese proverb states, “the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

HOW OFTEN TO USE SOIL REEF™

Since Soil Reef is a permanent soil amendment, one application can last a lifetime. However, additional, cumulative benefits can be seen by adding it year after year. The choice is up to you.

SOIL REEF'S RESULTS

The Beauty of Biochar

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